Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), and Subcommittee on the Environment Ranking Member Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) renewed their request for all reports, documents, and communications related to allegations of a toxic work environment at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). In a letter to Dana Remus, Counsel to the President, the Republican lawmakers highlighted the Biden Administration’s yearlong failure to address the well-documented allegations made against former OSTP Director Eric Lander and senior leadership.
“Over one month ago, on February 7, 2022, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology made a bipartisan request for a copy of the investigative report regarding Dr. Eric Lander and other senior leadership at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). On February 9, 2022, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Republicans similarly wrote you to request documents and information from the White House regarding the resignation of Dr. Lander and the toxic work environment he created at OSTP. To date, neither Committee has received a written response,” wrote the lawmakers.
Science and Oversight Committee Republicans’ investigation and media reports reveal OSTP is a toxic work environment where staff fear meeting or even talking to OSTP leadership for fear of humiliation, demotion, and retaliation. In February 2021, OSTP employees first raised concerns about former Director Lander’s abusive behavior to White House Counsel’s Office. However, no action was taken to rebuke or remove him; he only resigned after the media reported on these allegations in early February 2022. On February 16, 2022, Dr. Alondra Nelson was given the designation of “performing the duties of director,” despite being complicit in allegations of bullying, harassment, and retaliation.
“The White House Counsel’s Office (WHCO) apparently had knowledge of many of the allegations against Dr. Lander since February 2021 but failed to remedy the issues for nearly a year. The investigation WHCO finally conducted did not lead to significant action. Dr. Lander did not resign until Politico made the allegations public. However, the investigative report detailing the toxic work environment at OSTP has never been released to Congress or the public. This is concerning because some of the senior leadership implicated in the report still work at OSTP. WHCO’s apparent decision to subvert congressional oversight is troubling,” continued the lawmakers.